Man recalls heroic efforts of uncle in Second World War STELLARTON Wallace Martell says the lyrics of a song recently prompted him to dig out some old family clippings.
Martell was just a young boy when his father returned from the Second World War and it was a difficult subject to talk about in his household when he was growing up. "Break it to them gently when you tell them I won't be coming home again," is the lyric that stirred old feelings in Wallace's heart and sent him on search of his mother's clippings. "Uncle Tommy died on December 31, 1943, but they didn't tell his mother until February 1944, " he said. "Imagine how the family felt not knowing what was happening. This song reminded me of this Tommy's story." Many decades later, Wallace said it's time to share the story of his beloved uncle Thomas who died in Italy in 1943. Private Thomas Kleen Martell joined the army at Stellarton in 1939 and in January 1940, he was posted to Aldershot for training and from there he went to Halifax for overseas duty. In May 1940, Thomas was assigned to the West Nova Scotia Regiment and took further training in England before embarking to Sicily on July 10, 1943. He was 22 years old. Thomas's military life might have been short, but it was distinguished. He was louis vuitton bags etsy awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal following an encounter between his regiment and the Germans near La Rosamarina on Aug. 2, 1943. Thomas's section was put into action, but the number one was killed and the number two was seriously injured by heavy gunfire. "Private Martell, a rifleman, without hesitation, picked up the loads of ammunition and haversack, and carried them forward over 100 yards over open ground continuously swept by machine gun and rifle fire to his section who were in an advanced position and isolated without an automatic weapon. By doing louis vuitton small agenda refill 2013 so, he succeeded in making his section's position on a hillside tenable." It goes on to say how he was forced to travel in short bounds the last 100 feet over bullet swept ground, but managed to reach his section safely and to deliver his loads, then take up his positions and engage the enemy with his rifle. "Private Martell showed distinct coolness, complete disregard for his own safety, courage of a high order and initiative in that without a moment's hesitation and taking orders from no one, he seized up loads of two other men and carried them forward to the remainder of his section who where in an isolated position and in danger of being wiped out," the citation reads. Thomas's Distinguished Conduct Medal now hangs in the West Nova Scotia Regiment Museum in Bridgewater. Ironically enough, following this battle, Thomas was wounded on September 20, 1943, but his stay in the hospital would be short. He was discharged on Oct. 17 and ready to rejoin his regiment. On Dec. 29, 1943, the West Nova Scotia Regiment passed through the rubble strewn streets of Ortona. A military report says the "stench of rotting bodies arose from the ruins, with shattered farm houses, burnt haystacks, and shell pocked fields." According to military records, the immediate objective of the third Brigade was Point 59. Carleton and York Regiment were given the job of taking it, supported by C Company and the mortar louis vuitton bags speedy 30 price platoon of the West Novas and by artillery and tanks. "Constant patrolling louis vuitton headphone bracelet was necessary with many deep gullies, which made it possible for enemy snipers and patrols to approach the West Novas. The constant shelling made it a lot of dangerous work for signallers, whose lines were cut again and again. Private Thomas Martell was killed on Dec. 31, with the West Novas in this area," says a military report. Wallace, who followed in this father's and uncle's footsteps and joined the military, visited his uncle's headstone at the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery many years ago. The Moro River Cemetery contains the graves of those who died during the fighting and during the weeks that preceded and followed it.
In December 1943 alone, the 1st Canadian Division suffered 502 fatal battle casualties. During January, they made further limited and unfruitful offensive efforts, and they remained in the line of this sector until March, their activities limited to patrolling. Wallace said it feels good to tell his uncle's story and know that this Remembrance Day more people might recognize the name of his uncle and the selfless effort he made for his country.
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